NOTE: This has probably been asked already, but I am unable to find it. If such is the case, please post a link to that question in the comments. Here, I will try to explain how I think this problem should be combated.

A very useful feature that I think we need for Stack Overflow is automatic loading of new questions on pages such as the home page, unanswered, search results, or tags. This is so that when new questions/bumped questions appear, the user sees them without having to manually refresh. I find myself constantly refreshing SO and other Trilogy sites for new content, but what if we were to make this dynamic, or AJAX-y?

I can think of three ways to do this:

  1. Having the pages auto-refresh every few minutes - this is a possible way of solving the problem, but it doesn't seem like a good solution.
  2. New/bumped questions flow in at the top - with JQuery, we could have an interface where new content is automatically added to the top of the list (and maybe some questions change positions in the order). Old ones could either disappear or remain there, so that the list still contains the original content, but is longer (of course, periodically, the old ones can be purged, so that the list doesn't get huge after sitting open for a few hours, or something).
  3. A box that says, "X more questions since you started browsing, click here to see them" or "Y more questions since you started searching, click here to see them" - This is similar to the technique Twitter uses for its search results (if I'm not mistaken). After clicking on that "click here" button, the questions can flow into the list, as explained in possibility #2.

What do you think?

UPDATE: It seems that #3 is being supported the most. I really think we need this. Jeff! (:D)

  • Just found this (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/23486/…) thru Related tab on the side - well, it's not an exact duplicate, but it's similar, as the question/request is a little different and also, I tried to explain three possible methods (according to my interpretation) of solving the problem. Nov 8, 2009 at 21:46
  • It was asked on UserVoice. Not sure if it was migrated to Meta. Nov 8, 2009 at 22:00

3 Answers 3

  1. can consume a lot of bandwidth in browser windows left unattended. I'm not sure if this is significant or not however.
  2. sounds interesting, but the statuses (score, number of replies) to older questions is still relevant, so #1 would be preferred for getting new content I think.
  3. verrry interesting indeed; it sends the message to new users that this is a very dynamic site, without consuming the bandwidth of #1 or #2.
  • As far as #1 can't you detect inactive users? A timeout on mouse movement or something of the like? Nov 16, 2010 at 6:56
  • @java: I don't think web apps have access to that level of information on the client, but jQuery is pretty magical, so who knows?
    – Ether
    Nov 16, 2010 at 17:28
  • Yeah: api.jquery.com/mousemove . You'd almost have to keep a "heartbeat" of the mouse move and at some threshold (say 5 mins?) disable refresh. Nov 16, 2010 at 17:31

I think an implementation like Twitter's would be perfect.

Currently (for me, anyways), when I have my Twitter home page open, if new tweets come in while the page is open, a yellow bar at the top of the list of tweets (not a header notification like SOFU uses) shows up with some text along the lines of "3 new tweets". The title of the page is also changed to show the number of new tweets: (3) Twitter / Home.

I know Facebook does the same thing, showing a bar on the news feed indicating there have been new posts.

Edit - now with more screenshot: Twitter Screenshot http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/9886/twitteroq.png


This is now possible thanks to a UserScript I wrote: Live Home Page.

This tiny script updates the home page with new questions as they are asked and answered.

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